Rhode Island is switching up which standardized tests are used in public schools. The state will abandon the controversial test called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and instead students in third to eighth grade will take the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). The MCAS has been used successfully for over 20 years in Massachusetts. High school students will take the PSAT and the SAT, which are administered by the College Board.

Photo by Mackenzie Abernethy
Photo by Mackenzie Abernethy. Rhode Island schools, including ones in Providence, will switch to the MCAS next year.

State officials say they are hopeful the switch will improve performance in national rankings while reducing testing time. Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said that after the new tests are implemented, more reflection and action will be needed to address achievement gaps.

“We can stop focusing on what test we use and start focusing more on how do we make teaching and learning come alive?” said Wagner. “We can engage kids in classrooms to get them prepared for whatever’s next.”

Commissioner Wagner said that the move is in line with Governor Gina Raimondo’s broader goals of improving opportunities for Rhode Island students. The MCAS, PSAT and SAT will be implemented for testing in Spring 2018.